Which Video Conferencing Software Works Best for Online Mediation

Which Video Conferencing Software Works Best for Online Mediation

Moderated by Giuseppe Leone

If you are interested in Online Mediation and believe that the "visual" component is crucial for gaining the parties' trust in you and in the mediation process, you'll soon be faced with two questions:

 

>> Which video conferencing software shall I use?

>> And how can I try different software, test them, and pick the one I like the most?

 

In order to help you answer those questions, in the last 3 months a group of Virtual Mediation Lab mediators have done the following.

 

First, we prepared a list of 14 basic criteria that, in our view, a software should meet in order to work well for you and, more importantly, for the parties, who will participate in your online mediation in any way the prefer: with their PC, Mac, Ipad, Iphone, Android tablet or smart phone (or even a landline phone). Those 14 criteria are listed here - http://goo.gl/EAlBhf

 

Second,  we began to test some video conferencing software; we discussed how each of them met our 14 criteria;  and we video recorded our tests - so you can watch them and judge for yourself. To watch the video recordings of the tests we have run so far, click here http://goo.gl/PRdcaa

 

PLEASE NOTE -- Initially, we thought it was a good idea for us to grade (from 1 to 10) how well each software met our criteria.  But later we came to the conclusion that it is better if, again, you judge for yourself (1) what happened during our tests and (2) you decide how much importance to assign to our - or your own - criteria. 

 

To get this discussion forum started, please answer (for yourself or through this forum) these 3 questions:

 

1 - Software for Online Presentations and for Online Mediation

Our impression during our tests is that some video conferencing software (e.g. Adobe Connect, GotoMeeting, Webex, Fuze Meeting) seem to be primarily designed to run webinars. As a result, (1) they have roles like host, presenter, moderator, attendees; (2) their focus seems to be on the content of the presentation; (3) attendees can send questions to the host/presenter via chat or click an icon for raising their hand or a red flag.

Question: Do you consider Online Mediation similar to an Online Presentation? Or do you think they are 2 completely different things?

 

2 - Parties' Privacy

Some software, like Skype Premium , ooVoo and Vsee, require the parties to share their usernames; otherwise they can't see each other on the screen.

Question: If you were one of the parties (for example in a contentious divorce dispute) how would you like having to share your username with your soon-to-be-ex spouse? Would that bother you? Or no big deal?

 

3 - What an Video Conferencing Software Says About You

Some software - like Skype, ooVoo, Google Hangout - seem to have a "social", informal, Facebook-like feel . Some of them even allow you to apply filters (e.g. Zombie) to your face, if you so choose.

 

Question:  As an online mediator, are you OK with that informal feel? Or do you think that, in a sense, the software you use during an online mediation is also your "business card", your "virtual office", and therefore  it would be better if the parties have a more professional impression about you?

 

So, let's get this discussion forum on "The Best Video Conferencing Software for Online Mediation" started.  Please answer the above questions and feel free to ask any other questions you like about this important topic.

Moderator Bio:

Giuseppe Leone is the founder and project manager of Virtual Mediation Lab. VML is a pilot project sponsored by the ACR Hawaii to: (1) Help mediators improve their skills and learn to mediate online, by participating in online mediation simulations with other mediators; (2) Explore the next frontier for online mediation – Mobile Mediation. He has been practicing and teaching mediation since 1997. Giuseppe's Virtual Mediation Lab project is featured in the Summer 2013 issue on "Innovation and Conflict Resolution" of ACResolution, the quarterly magazine of the Association for Conflict Resolution.

 

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Guiseppe

Your idea of structuring a series of simulations with a broad collection of potential users and learning some outcomes  that can not only help inform choice of platform but also help to identify best practice is a good one.We need to bring together more than early adopters from the ADR community and reach out to the real user base of consumers and businesses etc  I feel sure you have been building up your own 'Tips and Tricks' file through the work you have done to date ( as I have with asynchronous text discussion and Noam has in his fascinating paper on email negotiation)  and it would be good to share and learn.

 

Graham:

You are right. Our 100+ online mediation simulations have helped us building a "Tips and Tricks" file, which we discuss during our sims, and teach to individual or small groups of mediators.

If  enough mediators (who work for Modria or some other ADR/ODR organization) are interested, we could also set up a webinar for teaching them those "Tips and Tricks".

If you think it's a good idea, please send me an email - virtualmediationlab@gmail.com

Giuseppe



Graham Ross said:

Guiseppe

Your idea of structuring a series of simulations with a broad collection of potential users and learning some outcomes  that can not only help inform choice of platform but also help to identify best practice is a good one.We need to bring together more than early adopters from the ADR community and reach out to the real user base of consumers and businesses etc  I feel sure you have been building up your own 'Tips and Tricks' file through the work you have done to date ( as I have with asynchronous text discussion and Noam has in his fascinating paper on email negotiation)  and it would be good to share and learn.

 

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